DALLAS, TX — Mail carriers in many U.S. cities suffered fewer dog bites last year, but the same can’t be said for Dallas. Forty Postal Service workers in The Big D were attacked last year — down by only one from 2016 — earned the title of the nation’s tenth worst city for dog attacks on postal workers.
The USPS, which released its findings on Thursday, said there were 6,244 workers attacked by canines across the country. While the overall number remains staggeringly high, there were actually 500 fewer attacks than the year before, according to a new report from the agency.
Houston, Los Angeles, St. Louis, Cleveland and San Diego rounded out the top five with 71, 67, 52, 49 and 46 workers attacked, respectively.
Houston topped out the list while other Texas cities on the listed included Fort Worth (ranked 23rd with 26 attacks), Amarillo (ranked 39th with 18 attacks) Corpus Christi (ranked 68th with 11 attacks) and Austin (ranked 84th with 10 attacks).
But the Postal Service is taking an optimistic view of the data. While still very high, the number fell by a not-insignificant amount.
"We’re encouraged by the decrease in dog attacks," Postal Service Safety Director Linda DeCarlo said in a release. "The totals are still too high, but we’re confident that with continuing education and dog bite prevention training, along with advancing technology, we can keep more people safe and keep attacks trending downward."
DeCarlo said the agency utilizes a safety feature that alerts mail carriers to dogs on their delivery routes. The application asks customers to indicate if they have dogs at their homes when they schedule package pickups. That information is then relayed to carriers on their delivery scanners, which blast alerts if an unleashed dog is reported.
"The scanners that our carriers use to confirm a customer’s delivery include a feature for them to indicate the presence of a dog at an individual address," said DeCarlo. "This information is particularly helpful for substitute carriers who fill in for regular carriers on their days off."
DeCarlo also offered some tips to residents with dogs.
If a carrier delivers mail or packages to your front door, place your dog in a separate room and close that door before opening the front door. Some dogs burst through screen doors or plate-glass windows to attack visitors. Dog owners should keep the family pet secured.Parents should remind their children and other family members not to take mail directly from carriers in the presence of the family pet, as the dog may view the person handing mail to a family member as a threatening gesture.If a carrier feels threatened by a dog, or if a dog is loose or unleashed, the owner may be asked to pick up mail at a post office until the carrier is assured the pet has been restrained. If a dog is roaming the neighborhood, the pet owner’s neighbors also may be asked to pick up their mail at the area’s post office.
Patch reporters Dan Hampton and Don Johnson contributed to this report.
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